Just when Amazon looked like king of the mountain with its Kindle 2 eBook collecting reams of press coverage, Fujitsu seems to have punched the wind out of the poor thing with the FLEPia – the very first color eBook. Fortunately for Amazon, a number of caveats associated with moving over to full color may make the FLEPia more of a novelty than a true head-to-head competitor with the Kindle.
The FLEPia’s eight-inch screen offers 1024 x 768 resolution and up to 260,000 colors, which is obviously quite a bit more than the new Kindle’s sixteen shades of grey. However, filling the screen with that full spectrum will be no simple task: According to Fast Company, the reader will take eight seconds to refresh in full color. In that time, most users could have the same page printed out in color. Even with the color palette reduced to 64 colors, refresh time remains a sluggish 1.8 seconds. Fujitsu’s own videos seem to confirm this absurdity. Fortunately, color does not seem to significantly diminish battery life, which remains a reasonable 40 hours.
Because it actually runs Windows CE, the FLEPia will do a few more tricks than your average electronic reader. Aside from thumbing (patiently) through documents, you’ll be able to surf the Web with it, and it has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built in. A standard SD slot allows the device to offer up to 4GB of storage.
Right now, the FLEPia remains a Japanese-only release with a price tag of 99,750 Yen. That translates to roughly $1,015 USD, making the color eBook a pricy proposition for all but the most well-off bookworms. Fujitsu has not yet announced whether a North American version will ever be made, but more details are available on the translated version of the company’s press release.
Fujitsu FLEPia Color eBook